IWA Chiltern Branch

13 December 2023

On the scorching-hot final day of the summer term 2023, 40 pupils from Berkhamsted Boys’ School set to work on painting infrastructure along the Grand Union Canal, adjacent to the school’s Castle Campus in Berkhamsted. The day – organised through IWA working in collaboration with the Canal & River Trust – formed part of the annual House Service Day, time set aside from normal lessons to make a difference for good in the local community.

After a health and safety briefing led by Jack Prothero from Canal & River Trust, the boys were introduced to the history of the Grand Union Canal and the work of Canal & River Trust and IWA by Chiltern Branch Member and Geography Teacher, Paul Greenhalgh. Under the supervision of school and Canal & River Trust staff, the boys divided into small groups before walking to five sites along a mile-long stretch of the nearby canal.

In the space of just a few hours, the aesthetic of the towpath environment was transformed as the boys demonstrated leadership and worked collaboratively to paint mooring bollards, railings and paddle gear. One Year 8, who worked on painting the Castle Street footbridge (141), commented on how satisfying it was to renew a piece of infrastructure used by hundreds of people in the school community and wider public each day.

It is hoped the students’ efforts have been appreciated by waterways users throughout the summer season; they look forward to new projects to work on next year!